Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Clusters, key clusters and local textual functions in Dickens

Mahlberg, Michaela

Clusters, key clusters and local textual functions in Dickens Thumbnail


Michaela Mahlberg


The paper argues that corpus linguistics can make useful contributions to the descriptive inventory of literary stylistics. The concept of local textual functions is employed as a descriptive tool for the stylistic analysis of a corpus of texts by Charles Dickens. It is suggested that clusters, i.e. repeated sequences of words, can be interpreted as pointers to local textual functions. The focus is on five-word clusters and five functional groups are identified: Labels, Speech clusters, As If clusters, Body Part clusters and Time and Place clusters. The analysis draws on the identification of key clusters comparing the Dickens corpus with a corpus of nineteenth-century fiction, it identifies links to literary criticism and it gives specific attention to the group of Body Part clusters to illustrate the functional variation of clusters.


Mahlberg, M. (2007). Clusters, key clusters and local textual functions in Dickens. Corpora, 2(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Deposit Date Feb 21, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2013
Journal Corpora
Print ISSN 1749-5032
Electronic ISSN 1755-1676
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copyright Edinburgh University Press.


Downloadable Citations